About Brian Kavanagh
Chairman of Committee on Housing, Construction and Community Development
Democrat, Working Families Democrat, Working Families
Representing 317,000 residents of the 26th Senate District in Lower Manhattan and the western part of Brooklyn, Brian Kavanagh has worked to reform State government and make it more responsive to the needs of all New Yorkers.
He has focused on legislation and policy changes to support affordable housing, protect the environment, promote economic and social justice and a more humane society, prevent gun violence, create a fairer and more open political process, and provide for greater accountability in the ways government provides services and spends our tax dollars.
Elected to the Senate in 2017, Brian is the Ranking Democrat on the Senate Elections Committee and also serves on the Banks; Consumer Protection; Corporations, Authorities and Commissions; Environmental Conservation; Investigations and Government Operations; Judiciary; and Social Services Committees.
Formerly a member of the State Assembly, elected to six terms on the Democratic and Working Families Party lines to representManhattan's East Side, Brian chaired the Assembly Consumer Affairs and Protection Committee, the Commission on Government Administration, and the Subcommittee on Election Operations and Voter Disenfranchisement and co-chaired the Assembly Workgroup on Legislative Process, Operations, and Public Participation. He also served on the Housing; Environmental Conservation; Energy; Election Law; Labor; Corporations, Authorities, and Commissions; and Cities Committees and the Puerto Rican / Hispanic Task Force.
Brian is founder and chair of American State Legislators for Gun Violence Prevention and co-chair of New York Legislators for Gun Violence Prevention. He also chairs the New York State Caucus of Environmental Legislators, and sits on the Executive Board of the National Caucus of Environmental Legislators. He serves as Treasurer of the American-Irish Legislators Society and is a member of the Council of State Governments Energy and Environment Committee.
During his time in the legislature, Brian has sponsored legislation and worked with colleagues to extend and strengthen tenant protections; increase New York's commitment to cleaner more sustainable energy sources and greater efficiency; prevent people from being exposed to toxic chemicals; increase the minimum wage; ensure equality in civil marriage laws; strengthen laws intended to keep guns out of the wrong hands; and promote cleaner, fairer elections by modernizing voting and closing loopholes in campaign finance laws.
In 2011, Brian passed legislation and negotiated a deal between the State and the City to create $200 million worth of new parkland and open space on Manhattan's East Side, including a mile-long esplanade from East 60th Street south to 38th Street, which will close the last major gap in the greenway circling the island. He sits on the Eastside Greenway and Parkland Board, convened to oversee implementation of these projects. He also commissioned, with then-Borough President Scott Stringer, the East River Blueway Plan, a community effort to improve public access and resiliency along the East River waterfront from 38th Street to the Brooklyn Bridge.
Brian's work has earned him the League of Conservation Voters Eco-Star Award, top ratings each year from Environmental Advocates of New York, the City University of New York's Baruch College Legislator of the Year Award, FairVote's Champion of Democracy Award, the Samuel J. Tilden Club's Democratic Leadership Award, the Eleanor Roosevelt Democratic Club Award, and a perfect rating from the League of Humane Voters of New York City.
Brian is admitted to practice law. He began his government service as an aide to Mayor Ed Koch and has served in three Mayoral administrations. He later served as Chief of Staff to then-Council Member Gale Brewer and as a researcher and advocate at Dēmos on a nationwide effort to secure voting rights for low-income citizens.